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Ball State a Step Closer to Taking Over Muncie Schools

House also votes for Gary schools takeover. Democrats warn other districts.

(INDIANAPOLIS) - Muncie and Gary's financially struggling schools are a step closer to a state takeover.

The two school districts have been bleeding money and students for years, and have had emergency financial managers since last year. The House has voted to disband their school boards and set the stage for Ball State University to take over Muncie, while the emergency manager in Gary, former Warren Township-Indianapolis Superintendent Peggy Hinckley, would gain sole control over the system. 

The 65-26 vote was along near-party lines, with Indianapolis Representative Karlee Macer the only Democrat to join Republicans in passing the plan. Gary and Muncie's Democratic representatives complain the emergency managers haven't had enough time to turn the districts' finances around. And Indianapolis Representative Ed DeLaney says there are 29 more school districts which are losing enrollment, including Indianapolis and Martinsville. He warns fellow legislators their districts could be next.

Ways and Means Chairman Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville) says the state's already tried less drastic action, only to see Gary sink another $20 million into debt.

Democrats say they're hoping the Senate will make changes.

(Photo: Henryk Sadura/Thinkstock)

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